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2016 Secretary’s Awards

The 2016 Secretary’s Awards honor the work, sacrifice, and professional excellence of employees from components all across the Department of Homeland Security.  These colleagues highlighted below have performed above and beyond the call of duty, responding in extraordinary ways to the challenges of protecting the homeland.  These individuals have displayed a special dedication to the mission of homeland security, setting a sterling example for all 225,000 DHS employees who share their commitment to the Department and to the American people.



  • Exceptional Service

    The Secretary grants the Exceptional Service Gold Medal in recognition of exceptionally outstanding leadership or service that is distinguished by achievements of national or international significance, reflecting great credit on the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Government by markedly improving the security of our homeland.

  • Meritorious Service

    The Secretary’s Meritorious Service Medal recognizes exceptional individual leadership or service that is distinguished by achievements of marked significance over time to the Department of Homeland Security. This award will recognize a body of work characterized by superior performance related to significant accomplishments, business improvements or notable resourcefulness and diligence that significantly improved the effectiveness of the Department of Homeland Security in one or more program areas.

  • Valor

    The Secretary’s Award for Valor is the highest departmental recognition for extraordinary acts of valor by an employee, occurring while on or off duty. The award is only to be given in extraordinary circumstances to those who have demonstrated extraordinary courage in a highly dangerous, life-threatening situation or emergency under extreme stress and involving a specific act of valor, such as saving another person’s life or property. Both civilian and military employees of the Department are eligible for this award.

  • Unity of Effort

    The Secretary’s Unity of Effort Award recognizes outstanding efforts in coordination, and unity of effort across the Department of Homeland Security by significantly improving efficiency and effectiveness. The award acknowledges group efforts within the Department or with external partners who assist in meeting our commitment of unity of effort. 

  • Exemplary Service

    The Secretary’s Award for Exemplary Service recognizes exemplary individual service by Department of Homeland Security employees serving in administrative, technical, clerical and general support positions.

  • Excellence

    The Secretary’s Award for Excellence recognizes outstanding individual achievement or innovation by an employee engaged in work to advance the mission of the Department of Homeland Security. This work may have resulted in superior performance, significant operational improvements or notable innovation in support of Department of Homeland Security missions. 

  • Diversity Management

    The Secretary’s Award for Diversity Management recognizes an employee who has excelled in efforts to promote diversity at the Department of Homeland Security through exceptional leadership, innovation and perseverance. The award may acknowledge individual efforts exclusively within the Department or with external partners who assist the Department of Homeland Security in meeting our commitment to diversity.

  • Volunteer Service

    This award recognizes significant contributions by DHS employees who serve as volunteers with non-profit or community service programs or activities. The employee’s contributions should be direct, sustained and have meaningful results for individuals or larger public good.

  • Customer Service

    Secretary’s Award for Customer Service 2016

  • Unit Award

    Secretary’s Unit Award 2016

Last Updated: 01/13/2022
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